By Richard Menta 9/20/03
Deciding to cross international bounderies, the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced Friday it has sued Israeli-based file trade company iMesh. It's not completely international - iMesh is incorporated in Delaware and states in its terms of service that disputes be litigated in New York - but to truly succeed in shutting this service down the music lobby will eventually have to trek to Tel Aviv.
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This is assuming they win here in the states. What is most interesting about the suit is that it comes after a Los Angeles federal court judge ruled that while illegal file trading takes place on these services, the services themselves were not liable to the infringing activities of its users. Citing the Supreme Court Betamax case, U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson ruled that P2P services were legal technologies akin to the VCR and Xerox machine and their manufacturers could no be held liable for contributory infringement.
That case is presently on appeal and while there is no evidence yet that Wilson's ruling might be overturned, the RIAA probably wants iMesh already set up should the winds shift in the music industry's favor. Also, the RIAA has had better luck in New York where three years ago U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff ruled MP3.com must pay the industry $25,000 per CD (around $250 million in total dollars) on what amounted to a technicality.
We'll see where this goes, but there won't be much for a while. CNET has the details of the case itself here.
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